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Utah’s LoveLoud Festival is coming back this week

todayOctober 29, 2023 1

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The LoveLoud Festival — the annual music celebration for LGBTQ+ teens and youth — is returning to Utah this week, with a show Friday at the Delta Center.

For the first time, LoveLoud went on the road, and Tyler Glenn — vocalist for the pop-rock band Neon Trees and a member of the festival’s advisory board — was there.

“It was really cool, because it brought in a really diverse crowd in D.C.,” Glenn told The Salt Lake Tribune, three days after the LoveLoud show in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 17. “It was beautiful, because there are a lot of fans coming for different artists specifically — and then there were clearly some people there that had known LoveLoud and [were] really excited just for the overall night.”

The D.C. show featured artists, like Glenn and singer David Archuleta, who are former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have since come out as LGBTQ+ — reflecting many in the Utah audiences who have attended LoveLoud since it started in 2017 at Orem’s Brent Brown Ballpark.

Glenn said the vibe in D.C. was different than in Salt Lake City, where Loveloud has been “really built up,” he said. But the road experiment was still exciting, he said.

“Over the night, the [D.C.] crowd just got warmer and warmer and more excited to be there,” Glenn said. “It turns from [fans] seeing their favorite artists at a festival to really receiving the words in between, and the messages that artists were saying when they weren’t singing.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dan Reynolds, seen here at the 2022 LoveLoud Festival, is scheduled to return to the Delta Center stage on Nov. 3, 2023, for this year’s version of the music event to support LGBTQ+ youth.

LoveLoud’s founder, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds, told The Tribune last year that the goal every year is to reach more people and increase the event’s impact.

Glenn, Archuleta and Reynolds are on the bill for Friday’s show at the Delta Center. The scheduled headliners are alt-pop singer Lauv, indie-rock band Mother Mother and indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara. According to a release, there also will be speakers, including local drag queens, speakers and LGBTQ+ allies. Tickets are available at deltacenter.com.

The show is set to start at 6 p.m. — an evening event, rather than the daylong festival of previous years.

“It feels like a concert, more like a distinct show than maybe an all-day event like we have in the past,” Glenn said, “In terms of impact, [with] artists and speakers, we have just as much of a bang for your buck, and we’re coming from a place of more confidence than in years past.”

Continuing the mission

One thing that hasn’t changed, Glenn said, is LoveLoud’s mission and purpose: To share the message of acceptance, affirmation and love for queer youth — something the entire LGBTQ+ community often sees at venues that aren’t accessible to all age groups, like at a club.

It’s “very frustrating” Glenn said, to see how the most vulnerable people in the LGBTQ+ community, like trans and non-binary people, are “under attack in a very focused way.”

“Our event tries to remain nonpartisan in terms of its mission and goal, because honestly we do want conservative families and families of faith to come,” Glenn said. “More often than not, these are people that have never been in a room with a drag artist, trans person, non-binary or a queer person, let alone even just the gay man.”

In the past year, Utah has seen threats to an all-ages drag show and a drag story time event, legal battles over a drag show, and legislation to limit health care access to transgender youth. Because of similar threats and laws in many states, the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans.

Glenn, who came out in 2014 (in the pages of Rolling Stone), said that working through his own “faith crisis” spurred him to help others.

“I meet people continuously waking up or coming to terms with things that maybe they feel aren’t of service anymore to them,” Glenn said. “In 2016, I left the Mormon faith and began my journey of really reassembling my life, because I gave the first 31 years of my life to an organization that had no room for me to really grow beyond that point.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) David Archuleta, shown here at the 2022 LoveLoud Festival, is scheduled to appear at the 2023 version of the music event to support LGBTQ+ youth, scheduled for Nov. 3, 2023, at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

He said he’s seen the change in Salt Lake City from a “boots on the ground” position with the festival.

“Dan and I being Mormon, that was sort of the language we started in, because we knew the oppression within the walls of those churches and we knew the pressure within doctrine,” Glenn said. “We knew what was going on at homes that had queer kids.”

Ultimately, Glenn said, “If I — as someone with access, a career, a family that supports me and uplifts me — [am] feeling that pressure and that weight, I know it’s happening to people in a vulnerable place, especially the youth that are queer.”

So even if the event is shorter, with fewer performers, Glenn said it’s “a relevant thing because the mission has remained the same.”

Music lends itself to that mission, he said, because “there’s so many people inside or outside of the LGBTQ community [that] grew up going to shows. … I’ve seen music become the common denominator in a lot spaces. It’s a language that can be used when other languages fail. It’s a perfect way to build a bridge.”

LoveLoud started in Utah, Glenn said, because of the state’s culture and the language around being part of the LGBTQ community. It’s hitting the road, he said, because “there are other orthodox places across the country, they’re also very conservative states with blue dots quite like Utah that need resources, help and support.”

After the Salt Lake City show, Glenn and Reynolds will take LoveLoud to Austin, Texas, for a show Nov. 10 — with pop performers Cavetown, Chelsea Cutler and Vincint topping the bill.





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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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